CLEVELAND – When choosing which Halloween costume to wear, do you typically go for the funny clown or the scary villain?
According to Scott Bea, PsyD, of Cleveland Clinic, for some, putting on a disguise lets them reflect their personality, while others like to choose costumes that do the opposite.
“When we get in a costume, or put a mask on, we lose our inhibitions, and this is part of what Halloween is all about,” he said. “It’s about becoming disinhibited, playing with different elements of our personality -maybe some that exist outwardly -but probably ones we don’t get to play with an awful lot.”
Dr. Bea said our costume choices may say something about how we manage impulses, or what we’re insecure about.
He says if you’re really into scaring people – you may be a social dominator.
“There’s a part that might represent your aggressive impulse – the scary monster, or some other aggressive character – a gangster, a superhero or super villain – all might play to those impulses a little bit,” said Dr. Bea.
If you’re being silly or whimsical, you might be telling people that you have a sense of humor.
A costume may also show something that we want to portray – such as our creativity.
But, Dr. Bea said it’s different for different people – costume choices are not a one size fits all approach.
He said one thing is for sure – getting into character can allow us to hide, and if we feel slightly anonymous, it enables us to take more risks.
Especially for those who opt for a mask that completely covers the face.
“Because of the disinhibition that we feel when we’re in costume, we’re a little freer in our socialization,” said Dr. Bea. “And that’s what’s fun about Halloween parties – we have built-in things to talk about, just based on our costuming, and how we’re presenting ourselves – it makes it easy for people to be together.”